Vague and sometimes contradictory information is emerging slowly. From CBS:
The hostage situation in an Algerian natural gas complex [at Amenas] appeared to reach a dangerous crescendo Thursday, with Islamic militants claiming that Algerian helicopter attacks have left 35 hostages and 15 captors dead, according to the Associated Press.
Details were still emerging Thursday morning and there was no official confirmation from U.S. or other governments involved on the reported deaths. The British Foreign office did confirm that they were aware of an “ongoing military operation.”
This followed reports early this morning of a mass hostage escape:
The Algerian news agency reported Thursday that as many as 45 hostages, including Americans, had escaped from a natural gas complex a day after Islamic militants seized the installation in retaliation for French airstrikes against Islamist rebels in neighboring Mali.
The Algerian report said 30 Algerians and 15 foreigners had fled the compound Thursday. The report could not be independently confirmed. The Associated Press, quoting an unnamed Algerian official, said 20 foreigners, including Americans, had escaped.